Monthly Archives: July 2020

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance

The Orange County Schools ‘ Special Education Alliance was created by the 28 districts in Orange County in 2003. The primary goal of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is to meet the need for a countywide system that can focus on special education. This includes offering staff development and training to school employees, creating leadership in advocating for legislative and administrative change, overseeing the decisions and rulings rendered by administrative agencies, offering a way to fund the litigation and appeals of administrative and judicial decisions and rulings especially when the outcome has a countywide significance or precedent setting in its implications for all students.

The Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created with the intention of addressing all the concerns of all students regardless of if the student has any manner disability. Any student that is not receiving the full services they need changed because of lack of funding to support mandates created under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The main problem that Orange County Schools faces with meeting this federal mandate is drawing funds from the regular education program. Funds are often taken from the regular education program to support the needs of special education students. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance aims to provide the services all students need to be successful in meeting academic standards.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance plans to accomplish this goal by providing staff development to its practitioners, use the legislative process to seek adequate funding to provide these high quality services, and when necessary, support litigation to achieve these goals. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance also encourages staff members, parents, advocates and organizations to get involved by using their voices and contact the local officials and hold them accountable for promises and mandates for which regular education and special needs children are entitled.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is lead by an Executive Committee that is composed of Superintendents from different school districts across Orange County. The actual carrying out of the goals is the responsibility of the Review Committee. The Review Committee is comprised of five Superintendents regionally nominated, Orange County Schools’ legal counsel, two private attorneys representing school districts in special education matters, two SELPA directors, and one business administrator. The Review Committee has been working hard for the past two years in order to try and meet the goals of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance. Even though the focus of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is in the areas of legal and funding, it tries hard to work closely with teachers and staff members so that its members are informed about the needs of the schools at root levels.

Since the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created it has accomplish a great deal to meet the needs of the school districts across Orange County.

Education: The Foundation Of Everything

As learning is the basis of knowledge, education is the structure from which knowledge flows.

Accumulating information is like having a marble connection, what do you do with it once you have it? The byproducts of education – awareness of varying concepts, appreciation for ideas, understanding divergent philosophies – all are powerful foundations for growth and change.

Intelligence contains within itself the ability to listen and reason, the knowledge to act within reason and the power to create. From education comes wisdom and from that wisdom, solutions are born that propel us forward, whether constructing a building or nurturing an idea.

With Knowledge Comes Responsibility

True knowledge is fearless, made strong by the absence of doubt and fortified by pillars of information. Cultivating it simply requires an open mind and a desire to learn. Channeling knowledge towards meaningful expression is always the challenge.

As William S. Burroughs, American writer and visual artist, once stated, “The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.”

Every physical structure, every scientific achievement, every philosophical advancement, all have one thing in common; they were brought into existence by educated opinions based on knowledge. The evolutionary path of civilization would have been dramatically different had experiments and new ideas been based on ‘guessing’ or ‘gut feelings’, rather than analytical observation.

Scientific Facts Shape Our Future

A great example of education-based evolution is Darwin’s well-known Theory of Evolution. It is one of the most substantiated theories in the history of science. Hard to imagine such a ground-breaking and historical hypothesis being put forth without the benefit of informed analysis from knowledgeable professionals.

During the beginning of his research, Darwin was much more an observer than a geneticist. He could document the pattern of evolution, but did not possess the scientific training to understand and subsequently translate his observations. Without the corroborative knowledge to support his theory, it would have proven difficult to answer the inherent questions of ‘how’ or ‘why’ it happened.

Evidence gathered from various scientific disciplines, including paleontology, developmental biology, geology, and genetics, enabled scientists to advance Darwin’s stream of ‘theoretical consciousness’ into mainstream discussion. Questions were raised and explanations were given. It is easy to imagine Darwin’s groundbreaking theory never becoming more than coffee-table talk in the absence of fact-based science.

Where Learning Leads… Wisdom Follows

The dictionary defines ‘foundation’ as the basis or groundwork of anything. Education is defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge (in conjunction with) developing the powers of reasoning and judgment. Together, they form the bedrock of learning-based understanding… the path to wisdom.

Wisdom is the grand enabler. With it, all is possible. Without it, nothing is achievable. Wisdom created the pyramids and thrust us into space. It taught us to fly and how to come back down to Earth safely. Wisdom is the evolution of education and architect of our reality.

As a child learns and develops a foundation for life, so too, does learning bring forth the knowledge needed to explore the foundation of the universe. Step by step and lesson by lesson, studying the various aspects of life in all its natural and man-made grandeur, establishes a base of knowledge impervious to self-doubt and distraction.

The infrastructure of human existence will forever depend on the strength and wisdom forged from our educational structure.

Influence of Internet on the Education System

The Information highway or the Internet has changed the way the world goes about doing things. It is one more point in a long continuum of inventions that is set to revolutionize lifestyles. One is inclined to ask, how does the ability of computers to talk to each other improve the learning process in the classroom? How does it make a difference in study of epics like the Odyssey and the Iliad? These questions and more will be answered in the following passages. The Internet has a more pervasive effect than other electronic media and is the modern engine of progress; it is the new form of thinking that will show a fresh approach to online education.

Personal computers and the Information Superhighway are rapidly transforming America. Already, the Internet is making large amounts of information available at unprecedented speeds. When this revolution makes itself fully felt in schools, teachers and students will have virtually instantaneous access to vast amounts of information and a wide range of learning tools. If we guide the information revolution wisely, these resources will be available not only to affluent suburban schools but also to rural school districts and inner-city schools. Broad access can reduce differences in the quality of online education and give children in all areas new opportunities to learn. Used well, this transforming technology can play a major role in school reform.

The new technology will enable students to acquire the skills that are essential to succeed in modern society. Exposure to computer technology in school will permit students to become familiar with the necessary tools at an early age. By using the technology well, they will also acquire better thinking skills to help them become informed citizens and active community members.

The drive to integrate technology into our nation’s schools goes far beyond the Internet. If the Internet didn’t exist, advanced technology would still have so many valuable educational uses distance learning applications, collaborative learning, and so forth that far larger investments than are being contemplated would be justified.

Web resources are excellent tools for researches. Let’s not kid ourselves, however. Even if policymakers, practitioners, and parents did decide what their goals were and even if the research findings supported one of several configurations of hardware and software, deciding when, how, or if to use technology (or any other reform) in the classroom is not likely to be determined solely on these bases. Many other factors–ranging from parental pressure to superintendents wanting to leave their fingerprints on the district to technology corporations promoting their products–shape decisions to buy and allocate technologies to schools.

The Internet is an incredible information resource and a powerful communication tool. The ability to use new technologies is becoming a more important factor in career options, and the future success of today’s students will be more affected by their understanding of and ability to access and use electronic information. The increased use of on-line services in the home by children adds to the impetus for schools to take a more active role in family education regarding their use.

Schools have the potential to be access points and online educational centers for exploring Internet resources. Increased involvement of parents in school education programs can help address community concerns and can improve their children’s overall academic performance. If educators assume responsibility for helping students master the use of technology and educating them about potential risks, students will become more empowered to make intelligent choices.

Multicultural education relates to education and instruction designed for the cultures of several different races in an educational system. This approach to teaching and learning is based upon consensus building, respect, and fostering cultural pluralism within racial societies. Multicultural education acknowledges and incorporates positive racial idiosyncrasies into classroom atmospheres.

The concept of learning styles is rooted in the classification of psychological types. The different ways of doing so are generally classified as: Concrete and abstract perceivers and Active and reflective processors.

There are many academic and psychological issues do minority students encounter such as: low single head of household, low socioeconomic status, low minority group status, limited English proficiency, low-educational attainment of parents, mobility, and psychosocial factors.

Not only do school programs and practices have a direct impact upon student success, but the school and community contexts in which these programs and practices occur also affect success rates. “Context” is comprised of numerous factors. Some contextual variables can have a positive impact upon students, while others work against student success.

The call for total school reform strongly suggests that existing conceptions of education are inadequate for promoting multicultural equity. Unfortunately, these same conceptions have shaped the schooling of prospective teachers. Their education likely has been characterized by tracking (the process of assigning students to different groups, classes, or programs based on measures of intelligence, achievement, or aptitude), traditional instruction that appeals to a narrow range of learning styles, and curricula that exclude the contributions of women and people of diverse cultures. Competition drives this factory model of schooling, in which students tend to be viewed as products coming off an assembly line.

Education is a fundamental human process; it is a matter of values and action. The cluster of technologies called the Internet has the ability to complement, to reinforce, and to enhance the educational process. It will take the focus of education from the institution to the student. The Internet has come to befriend, dwell with, and live beyond, both, the teacher and the student. African wisdom says, “It takes an entire village to raise a child”.

My personal conclusion is that all students, regardless of race, ethnic group, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, age, language, or disability, deserve equitable access to challenging and meaningful learning and achievement. This concept has profound implications for teaching and learning throughout the school community. It suggests that ensuring equity and excellence must be at the core of systemic reform efforts in education as a whole.

5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a physical disability, that receives special education services? Does your child need transportation services? Do you think that special education personnel are not being truthful about what the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) says about transportation? This article will be discussing 5 lies that are commonly told to parents about transportation. Also, discussion on how to overcome these lies to help your child receive needed, transportation services.

Lie 1: We can keep your child on the bus for as long as we want. While IDEA 2004 does not address length of bus ride, long bus rides can be negatively affecting a child’s education (causing stress, negative behavior).The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stated in a policy letter to anonymous (1993) that lengthy bus rides may be discriminatory, and may result in denial of FAPE. Why could a long bus ride be discriminatory? If children with disabilities are on the bus longer than children without disabilities, this could be considered discrimination.

Lie 2: No one says that we have to provide transportation to your child, and we are not going to. Transportation is considered a related service and needs to be given to a child, if they need the service so that they can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Lie 3: The transportation director makes decisions about whether a child needs transportation not the IEP team. In a document from OSEP entitled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation OSEP states “The IEP team is responsible for determining if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services… ” If your child needs transportation make sure that it is listed in your child’s IEP as a related service (if child not riding regular education bus).

Lie 4: The state says that we can bring your child to school 15 minutes late every day, and take her out 15 minutes early due to transportation issues. Ask the school to show you in writing any documentation that proves that they have the right to do what they want to do. In the above example you could ask for “Please show me in writing where it states that our State Department of Education is allowing cutting short of education due to transportation issues!”

Actually the above OSEP document makes it clear that the school day for a child with a disability should not be longer or shorter than the school day for general education students. Since a child would receive less educational time this could also be a denial of FAPE.

Lie 5: If you want your child to participate in extracurricular activities then you must provide transportation, we do not have to. Actually IDEA 2004 states that a child with a disability has a right to transportation for required after school activities as well as for extracurricular activities. Make sure that the extracurricular activity is listed on your child’s IEP, and also listed that they require transportation in order to participate in the activity.

How do you overcome these transportation lies?

1. Learn about transportation requirements in IDEA 2004 (which is the federal special education law). I use the book Special Education Law 2nd edition from Peter and Pam Wright, which is fantastic. This book as well as a lot more advocacy information for parents can be found at: http://www.wrightslaw.com.

2. Call your states Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) for help with advocating for transportation issues.

3. Bring all of the above information to an IEP meeting to assist you in your advocacy.

Good luck in your advocacy!

Why Is Hunter Education Important?

Hunter education began in the late 1950’s with a very narrow focus on basic safety. It concentrated on topics related to conservation, knowledge of firearms, safety, ethics, and responsibilities. Since its inception, over ¾ of a million youth and adults have completed the course. Initially, it was voluntary, but in 1979 it became a requirement that all first time hunters successfully complete the course in order to purchase a license. This requirement exists in 49 states and all provinces in Canada. Presentation of a valid Hunter Education Card from one state will allow the purchase of a license or permit in other states, however, there may be additional educational requirements for hunting with archery, a handgun, or muzzle-loading equipment.

This course and other conservation activities are paid for by sportsmen. The Pittman-Robertson Act, also called the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, was signed into law in 1937. The act provided funds for states to acquire hunting land, conduct research, manage wildlife populations and pay for hunter education programs by placing an excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

The course curriculum includes firearm safety which includes shotguns, rifles and handguns. It emphasizes the four primary safety rules that apply to all arms: (1) Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, (2) Treat every gun as if it is loaded, (3) Always be sure of your target and beyond, and (4) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. The course also places a strong emphasis on being a responsible hunter and on wildlife conservation.

These educational programs have made hunting one of the safest of all the outdoor recreational activities. In Ohio, in a typical year, fewer than 7/100,000 of 1% of Ohio hunters are injured with a gun or bow while actively hunting. In fact, you are at greater risk while traveling in your vehicle to and from your hunting location.

There are several ways in which the sport of hunting benefits our society. First, the license fees, self-imposed taxes, and hunting permits and stamps finance many wildlife management activities. Second, wildlife has benefitted from regulated hunting and habitat protection, resulting in more species of wildlife than ever before. And finally, there are the benefits to the hunter himself. For some, it is the solitude or the appreciation of nature, while for others it may be time shared with family or friends. Others may enjoy the challenge presented in outwitting a particular species.

As shown in this article, the Hunter Education Course not only provides instruction leading to safe hunting practices, it also funds wildlife protection, habitat, and management. It provides new hunters with the knowledge to challenge the great outdoors and the skills to do it safely.

10 Interactive Science Education Websites For Grades K-12

As science teachers prepare to go back to school for the next school year, some have already returned, they are always searching for good online resources to supplement their lessons. It is always nice when someone helps them by previewing science websites and make recommendations.

The best science education websites are interactive, allowing students to make changes to or manipulate variables to observe what happens and share with others. This falls within the boundaries of inquiry-based teaching and learning. Students are developing their own experiments, observing the results, and reporting their findings.

The following websites have been previewed and meet the criteria of interactive and inquiry-based:

FOSS Web – is designed to support Full Option Science System (FOSS) Science K-8 science kits, but anyone can use the interactive activities for grades K – 8.

Volcano Cams – provides real-time views of volcanoes around the world. Students can observe volcanoes and develop their own experiments using these virtual cams for grades 5 – 12.

Explore eLearning – provides simulators for all science concept areas for grades 3 – 12.

Real-time Stream Flow Data across the Nation – by the US Geological Survey (USGS) provides real-time data typically are recorded at 15- to 60-minte intervals and transmitted to the U.S. Geological Survey offices every four hours. Data can be selected by state and county for grades 8 – 12.

Real-time Water Quality Data across the Nation-by the US Geological Survey (USGS) provides real-time water quality data are returned directly field instruments. Data are updated at five minute to one-hour intervals. Data can be selected by state and county for grades 8 -12.

Design a Roller Coaster – allows students to design their own roller coaster. They are building a conceptual coaster using the same physics concepts that are used to design real coasters for grades 6 – 12.

Human Anatomy Online – allows students to explore the Human Anatomy. Each topic has animations, 100’s of graphics, and thousands of descriptive links, for grades 4 – 12.

Earth and Atmospheric Kids Crossing – allows students explore water, atmosphere, and weather for grades 3 – 8.

Recycle City – lets students explore plenty of ways to see how a city’s residents recycle, reduce, and reuse waste for grades 3 – 8.

MBG Net – allows students to explore Biomes, Freshwater Systems, and Marine Systems of the World for grades 6 – 12.

Continuing Education Is a Necessity – That Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Tedious

Therapists who see continuing education as something just to get through are missing out. LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) LPCCs (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors) and LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) are required to maintain current skills by completing continuing education (CEUs) requirements in order to renew their licenses.

This isn’t just a requirement, it’s an opportunity! These precious hours are time for the therapist to regroup, to recharge the batteries renew motivation, learn new skills and update established ones.

Online or Classroom teaching

Therapists can gain CEUs with self-study, online and live trainings and workshops. While it’s easy to see the appeal of online courses (convenient, on your schedule, in your jammies) “live” classes offer so much more than basic information.

Interactive learning

By attending live classes and workshops, therapists have the opportunity to discuss and get clarification, “try on” ideas with colleagues and see the material in a relatable, communicative way. Small groups are especially helpful when the opportunity to “learn it, see it, do it” is offered. This way of learning brings the material to life and offers practical and efficient ways of learning.

Meeting colleagues

Attending live classes also offers you the chance to network with colleagues while you learn together. Being a therapist can be an isolating experience, so talking with your peers, sharing ideas and community is essential. CEU classes provide an ideal opportunity to network, collaborate and educate yourself while contributing to the group as a whole.

Bring Theory to life

Live CEU workshops offer the unique opportunity to see material in action. Understanding a theory is great, knowing how to apply it is essential! As therapists learn and actually practice new skills, they contribute to the well-being of every client they see.

Don’t Put It Off

It’s easy to put off your required Continuing Education (CEU) requirements, but that leads to a rushed experience as your renewal date looms. Help yourself and your practice by getting those CEU dates on your calendar now. While there are legal minimum required hours, there is no maximum to the amount of learning from which a therapist can benefit. You don’t give the “bare minimum” to your clients, why settle for it in your CEUs?

Get motivated

Live classes allow you to be part of a bigger community that will support your work, motivate you to be stretch and that needs your contribution of energy. Online IS convenient, but it’s also one more place of isolation, and often, frustration. Get out of your jammies, go see your colleagues, and get excited about your meaningful and challenging work again!

Benefits of Public Health Education

Public health education can be considered an ambiguous term. It teaches the proper way to improve one’s health, and can involve only one or two people, or the population of several countries. Anything that can seriously threaten the physical, mental, or spiritual health of a wide range of people, notably due to their interactions with one another, can be classified as a threat to the community’s public health. This is why public health education becomes a necessary tool to aid people against the spread of potential diseases and illnesses. Five of the most important reasons of how public health education can prove beneficial are as follows:

1. People are able to learn how to prevent the spread of communicable diseases through the training and methods being taught in education. People are able to have better access to information regarding general prevention of diseases, including the knowledge of what to do and how to act during epidemics in their area. Certain diseases have their own individual prevention methods that people should be well aware of, and employing these techniques lessens the risk of being infected by possible diseases. Through public health education, even simple things such as wearing a flu mask in particularly affected areas, or knowing when to take vaccines for a particular illness that is prominent at that time of the year, always proves very effective in limiting the number of people affected annually.

2. More people are able to access private and public medical institutions to prevent diseases or medical conditions, or to better treat them. Without the benefits of a public health education, most people may feel healthy enough and not find the need to go for a general check-up. Being aware that it is necessary to see your doctor regularly is one of the important things learned in a good public health education. Most medical hospitals and clinics offer immunization or vaccine shots during the flu seasons, or when a general outbreak of hepatitis is going around, and a public health education ensures that more people know to go to these facilities and avail of the treatment, thereby lessening the amount of ill people.

3. People are able to adopt a healthier behavior to lessen the risk of diseases being spread among themselves. Keeping things cleaner around the house, opting to lessen or quit smoking altogether, or exercising more are just a few of the many different ways taught in public health education to combat sickness and improve one’s lifestyle.

4. People become more aware of information relating to the disease, rather than believing in just public perception. Public health education not only deals with how to prevent illnesses, it also provides details of how a disease works, which may dispel some myths and fallacies about it in society. The HIV virus for example, can be spread through unprotected sexual intercourse, but not through activities such as kissing or touching. This also helps change a person’s views towards someone infected, promoting more empathy rather than discrimination.

5. People are able to help and contribute to disease prevention by supporting or volunteering at health care facilities. Public health education is more than just spreading information; it also calls people to actively participate in aiding others. To be able to protect one’s health, it is also necessary to protect the health of other people around you, and helps foster a more close-knit community and a better sense of camaraderie.